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Oil Consumption Through the Turbine Intake

Oil Consumption Through the Turbine

When you buy a car equipped with a turbocharger (turbine), you get not only power under the hood and excellent dynamic performance of the car but also a sensitive engine component that can cause a lot of trouble. Turbine repair is not cheap; it is often more expensive than buying a new turbine, and there aren’t many shops that can do the job right. Therefore, many car owners are concerned about how to extend the life of the turbine. The most important thing is the proper operation of the vehicle. Continuous operation of a turbocharged engine with low-quality oil, engine overheating, incorrect vehicle operation, or not doing an oil change on time, are all common reasons for an oil to get into Turbocharger.

Causes of Turbine Failure

Let’s consider the main causes that lead to the “death” of turbines:

  1. Problems in the turbine lubrication system.
  2. Presence of impurities and abrasive particles in oil.
  3. Contamination of elements of the exhaust gas purification system.
  4. Improper operation of the vehicle.
  5. Foreign objects getting into the air line.

The fifth case belongs in the category of force majeure circumstances, so we will not consider it.

Clogged up turbine

Problems in the Turbine Lubrication System

Much has been said and written about the quality of motor oil, so let’s look at the basic requirements for motor oil selection and oil system maintenance:

  • use high-quality lubricants; motor oil specifications must meet the requirements of the vehicle manufacturer,
  • select the oil appropriate for turbocharged engines; it should have a high flash point, at least 230 °C,
  • maintain the level of oil in the system not lower than the minimum mark on the dipstick,
  • observe oil change intervals; in case of turbocharged engines, it is recommended to change the oil earlier than the set interval by approximately 10%.

Overheating is a turbine killer. It is caused by oil starvation when the turbine is not getting the right amount of lubricant and the plain bearings are operating in the boundary friction mode. Clogging of turbine oil ducts leads to oil starvation of the turbine and a temperature increase in the bearing–turbine shaft friction pair. In the high temperature zone, the oil burns, leading to coke formation, scuffing, and loss of tightness of the seals.

It is important to maintain the overall cleanliness of the engine oil system because contaminants actively circulate throughout the entire lubrication system and lead to active wear of the friction surfaces of the engine. You should flush the engine oil system regularly. For this purpose, we recommend using the soft-acting XADO VitaFlush Soft Oil System Cleaner. This composition is safe for engine turbines; it does not contain any aggressive substances, and its use does not lead to a decrease in the viscosity of the motor oil. Once VitaFlush is added into the oil system, the vehicle may be operated for up to 620 mi. VitaFlush also contains REVITALIZANT® which provides a necessary repair and protection of the turbine bearing supports.

XADO Vita Flush Cleaner in action

The composition is recommended to be used at every oil change, especially for commercial engines equipped with a turbocharger.

Presence of Impurities and Abrasive Particles in Oil

In addition to carbon and sludge, various types of contaminants can be present in the oil system and enter through the air supply system. Due to leaks in the air filter or its cover, dust and sand get into the air system, acting as an abrasive and gradually leading to wear of the turbine bearings. Do not violate the intervals for replacing the air filter. A dirty air filter not only reduces the quality of the air supplied but also causes oil to leak into the intercooler and engine cylinders. If the air pipes are clogged or the air filter is dirty, a vacuum is formed behind the pressure wheel, which sucks oil out of the turbine cavity when the turbine is running.

Contamination of Elements of the Exhaust Gas Purification System

Both diesel engines and gasoline engines are at risk of this problem. If low-quality fuel is used, diesel particulate filters / catalytic converters quickly become clogged, which leads to an increase in pressure in the exhaust manifold. The turbocharger shaft operates at an increased load, resulting in greater wear on the bearings and the shaft itself; fuel consumption increases whereas engine power and throttle response decrease. All this leads to the inevitable costly repair of the turbocharger. Regular use of special cleaners such as VERYLUBE Catalyst Converter Protection or XADO DPF Cleaner will not only keep the respective units in good working condition but also extend the turbocharger life.

Improper Operation of the Vehicle

The most intensive wear in the turbine occurs when stopping the engine. At that moment, the pressure in the engine oil system drops, and the friction pairs operate in the oil starvation mode. Do not turn off a turbocharged engine immediately after stopping; otherwise, oil will carbonize on the turbocharger supports, which will lead to their wear during further operation. Before turning off the engine, let it run for 3–5 minutes; during this time the turbine will slow down. If the engine is not equipped with a turbo timer, we would recommend installing one.

Signs of Turbine Wear

The most accurate information about the technical condition of the turbine can be obtained by performing diagnostics on a specialized test bench. But this procedure is not cheap and requires dismantling the turbine.

You can carry out express diagnostics of the turbine at your own garage, without having to dismantle it. If you do this, you need to pay attention to the following:

  1. If every 600 mi you have to refill ~0.5 quart of oil and, when accelerating, the car is smoking or blowing clouds of blue smoke, this is a clear sign of increased oil consumption. You need to find the reason for it. It could be either the turbine or the engine.
  2. You can feel a loss of power and sudden drops while accelerating.
  3. You can hear weird sounds from under the hood, such as whistling or scrabbing, especially when the engine is cold.
  4. There are traces of oil inside the intake manifold.
  5. The turbine shaft exhibits axial play; radial play exceeds 1 mm.
  6. The turbine shaft jams during rotation; the blades of the compressor and turbine wheels show signs of damage.

If your car begins to show these symptoms, you need to take action because there is a high risk of the turbine “dying” soon. But don't rush getting rid of your car’s turbine.

Turbine Repair

XADO specialists have developed a technology that allows not only to protect the car turbocharger against possible future damage but also restore it from damage that has already incurred. This result can be achieved during normal vehicle operation without disassembling or dismantling the turbine — simply by using XADO compositions containing REVITALIZANT® could help solving the issue. After application of REVITALIZANT®, a ceramic-metal coating is formed on the surface of bearings and the turbocharger shaft, which is characterized by high microhardness and low surface roughness. The formed coating allows protecting the turbine from overheating during critical loads (engine shutdown).

If you want to restore the bearing supports and seals (rings) of the turbine, XADO specialists recommend one of the following products:

The restoration effect can be observed on the bearings of the turbine. The impeller and turbine blades are not affected by REVITALIZANT®.

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